lunedì 28 dicembre 2015

venerdì 18 dicembre 2015

Canederli in brodo – Bread Dumplings in Broth

Christmas for me means the Swiss Alps with my family and hopefully with plenty of snow. Once there, I enjoy preparing the local dishes I have enjoyed since I was a child. Canederli is one of my favourites. 

venerdì 11 dicembre 2015

Insalata d’inverno con salmone – Winter Salad with Salmon

Fennel and fish is one of the happiest winter marriages. 
Here I combine the fresh and crunchy fennel with the delicate salmon in a festive salad. Spinach leaves give colour, whereas the pomegranate enhances both the crunchiness and the sweetness of the main ingredients.
Tip: the Dijon mustard is the essential binding for the vinaigrette. Do not miss it out. Details are so important in simple dishes.

giovedì 10 dicembre 2015


This is a well-known Austrian tart, named after the town of Linz. Similar but softer (yeast is added to the dough) than the Italian crostata with jam, the Linzer torte is a perfect festive recipe, which infuses the home with its cinnamon and ground clove aroma. 

lunedì 7 dicembre 2015

Petti di pollo alla senape con verdure d’inverno - Chicken Breasts with Winter Vegetables

Seasonal dishes are my daily treat and since I can find fennels in London, my life has changed in better. Fennel has a strong personality which would give a twist to any dish. Here I prepare a winter salad adding fennel to carrot and onion and topping it with chicken breasts dressed with mustard. 

mercoledì 2 dicembre 2015

Zuppa d’orzo e lenticchie – Pearl Barley and Lentil Soup

This is my midweek soup, which could last until Friday for my husband and I. We do not get bored as it improves and changes in consistency and flavour every day. 
The combination of pearl barley, lentils and pancetta transforms the dish into a rich comfort food meal. 
Savoy cabbage and leek are essential to sweeten this winter dish. 

domenica 29 novembre 2015

Zuppa di pesce a modo mio – My Fish Soup

On Saturdays, I buy my fish from a stall in the farmers' market, where I enjoy going early in the morning in order to get the best choice. Yesterday the fish looked wonderful so I decided to make a fish soup, a simple and quick one with a mixed of firm-flesh fishes plus few prawns. I picked up a wild sea bream and two mullets the fishmonger cleaned for me and I kept the bones and the heads for the stock. 

giovedì 26 novembre 2015

Crostata integrale con marmellata di pere - Wholemeal Crostata with Pear Jam

Crostata is one of the post popular Italian tarts, made with shortcrust pastry and jam, usually homemade. It's a domestic tart we mainly serve either for breakfast or for tea, but it could also become a  perfect family dessert. Traditionally, we never pair it with any cream.

lunedì 23 novembre 2015

Vellutata finocchi e scalogni - Fennel and Shallot Veloute'

This morning, I spotted frost covered windscreens on the cars parked in the street. Winter has arrived, at last. I am recovering from a flu and I immediately decided not to go out for my shopping. I  work from home on Mondays and today I can be creative, inventing a soup with what's left in the pantry. Not much, but enough to make a comforting velouté.

domenica 22 novembre 2015

Polpette di piselli – Green Pea Boulettes

I love ball-shaped food. Any kinds of gnocchi and polpette is relaxing to mould for me, quick to cook and easy to eat. It is a convivial shape everybody loves. No need of knife.
Here I prepare vegetarian polpette with green pea and I serve them in a tomato sauce. 

giovedì 19 novembre 2015

Polpette al pomodoro – Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce

In Italy, polpette is a traditional domestic dish. They are prepared either to recycle meat leftovers or to serve inexpensive meat, which is minced, combined with stale bread and flavoured with plenty of herbs. 

mercoledì 11 novembre 2015

domenica 8 novembre 2015

Pizza al cavolfiore - Cauliflower Pizza

Sunday, family lunch, pizza for everybody, as usual. Yet, I suddenly realise that today somebody cannot have it. My niece Bianca, in London for few days, has intolerance to yeast and flour. Do I change the menu? I prefer to change the recipe, as everybody looks forward to the homemade Sunday pizza.

giovedì 5 novembre 2015

Crespelle Funghi e Melanzane - Mushroom and Aubergine Crespelle

I love mushrooms. I love picking them in the wood, I love cooking and combining them with pasta, ravioli, risotto, polenta or simply scramble eggs. Mushrooms, especially the wild ones, bring an earthy flavour to the table. 

lunedì 2 novembre 2015

Torta di mele – Apple Cake

It is a family recipe we have been cooking over and over without remembering the author. Was it my aunt, my granny or my mother who made it up? It doesn’t really matter; it is a family legacy, or better a “family signature dish”.

domenica 1 novembre 2015

Pasta con broccoli alla Siciliana

If you happen to order Pasta con broccoli in Sicily, you will get delicious cauliflower pasta. Do not blame the waiter, he is perfectly right, as in Sicily cauliflower is called broccoli, while the light green broccoli (Romanesco broccoli) are cauliflower and the dark green ones (the traditional broccoli) are ‘sparacelli’. A bit confusing, but the language enhances the independence of this beautiful island.

Whatever you call it, pasta with seasonal vegetables is a popular dish in Italy, with plenty of variations and inspirations. It is the perfect example of cucina povera: inexpensive, traditional, healthy.
The sweet and sour pasta with broccoli (cauliflower) alla Siciliana is made with raisins, pine nuts, anchovies and saffron. I like to prepare it with short pasta, such as maccheroni, but both bucatini and spaghetti would work as well.
Remember to keep the cauliflower al dente and to add the saffron at the very end. You will preserve its full flavor.

Pasta con broccoli alla Siciliana
Cauliflower and Raisin Pasta

350 g maccheroni
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cauliflower, about 800 g
50 g raisins
50 g pine nuts
6 anchovy fillets in oil
15 g saffron
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin oil

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

  1. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. 
  2. In a pan, sauté the pine nuts without any fat for 4 to 5 minutes until just golden, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl; do not leave them in the pan, as they would keep on cooking, even off heat. 
  3. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt on low heat for 10 minutes, until translucent. 
  4. Stir the anchovies into the onions and cook until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  5. Divide the cauliflower in florets and boil them in plenty of salted water with a good pinch of salt for 5 minutes. Drain and keep the water for the pasta. 
  6. Add the florets to the onion along with two tablespoons of their cooking water and leave to cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  7. Dissolve the saffron in 2 tablespoons of hot water and add to the cauliflower sauce with the raisins. Stir well. 
  8. Cook pasta in the cauliflower water until al dente. Drain, reserving one ladleful of cooking water. 
  9. Add pasta to the cauliflower, stir in half of the cooking water, sprinkle with pine nuts and sauté for 2 minutes on high heat. 
  10. Serve at once, with a drizzle of oil. 

martedì 27 ottobre 2015

Torta al cioccolato fondente – Chocolate cake

When you feel like having a chocolate cake, go for this one. Simple and quick to be made, it is rewarding. You only need to have good-quality chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) - which I suggest storing in the pantry - on top of the classic ingredients for a cake. If you don’t have ground almonds and don’t need to make a gluten-free pudding, replace the almonds with white flour. It will work as well.

sabato 24 ottobre 2015

Pollo Impanato al Forno - Breaded Chicken Baked

My 92 year-old father-in-law Giorgio, is a great chef. He invents new recipes every other day and always phones me to illustrate his new creations in detail. I like to promote his enthusiastic creativity. 

giovedì 22 ottobre 2015

domenica 18 ottobre 2015

Melanzane Rosse di Rotonda con Pasta - Red Aubergine Pasta Sauce

I discovered the red aubergines from Rotonda - a village in Basilcata - in London. I had never heard of them before. They are so beautiful that I kept them for days in the center of my dining table before deciding to cook them. 

giovedì 15 ottobre 2015

La cucina lontano da casa

Today, in Milan, I will launch my new book!

In 1993, I moved from Milan to London, where I live and run Italian cooking workshops. I recollect my experience of settling in a foreign country through 85 recipes, written in both Italian and English. Some celebrate family traditions, very effective at soothing homesickness; others tell of the joy of making new friends in my kitchen and around the table. Many describe the adoption of different ingredients in a new world. 
As I discover new cuisines and trends, my recipes highlight the widening of my gastronomic borders. It is a dialogue kneading tradition with innovation.

mercoledì 7 ottobre 2015

Vellutata Ceci e Castagne - Chickpea and Chestnut Veloute

Foto di Giulia Verdinelli
I would put chestnuts everywhere, from soups to desserts,  from meat to fish dishes. 
Here I propose a veloute' recipe I start serving in autumn. It is a delicate and nutritious dish, the perfect comfort food for short and wet days. 

martedì 6 ottobre 2015

Polpette di Pesce - Fish Boulettes

I like to play with different ways of cooking in order to keep the distinctive tastes and textures of the ingredients I use. Here the baked boulettes are eventually combined with the sautéed tomato sauce. The final result is a light dish full of Mediterranean flavours.
Serve with any boiled grains you like, from rice to barley, or with mashed potatoes.

lunedì 5 ottobre 2015

Insalata Cavolo a Punta e Tonno - Pointed Cabbage and Tuna Salad


It has been 15 years since I started shopping at the same vegetable stall in Portobello Market. Here I discovered the pointed cabbage, sweeter and more tender than the round cabbage. It is the perfect ingredient for the winter salads you can invent with whatever you have in the pantry.

martedì 29 settembre 2015

Incoronate - Fancy Meatballs

Italian polpette (meatballs) is a domestic dish you are unlikely to be served if you are invited to someone's house, unless you are regarded as part of the family. Polpette  belong to the cucina povera, they express a popular way to recycle a leftover piece of meat. 

lunedì 21 settembre 2015

Spaghetti Tonno e Limone - Tuna and Lemon Spaghetti

Ricetta Spaghetti al Limone

This is a quick pasta sauce you can prepare while the pasta is cooking, without planning your shopping. The ingredients for this recipe come from the pantry.
The secret: cook your spaghetti al dente, drain and return them to the pan; dress them at first with their cooking water combined with a little olive oil, which keeps the pasta moist and light. Afterwards add the sauce.

Pasta Cipolle, Salvia e Zafferano - Onion, Sage and Saffron Pasta

A colourful recipe, which needs to be slowly cooked for a while, to allow the onions to dissolve. 

venerdì 18 settembre 2015

Sorbetto alle Fragole - Strawberry Sorbet

I always add a tablespoon of whisked egg white to my sorbetto, no more than that. It is enough to make it smooth and creamy like an ice cream, without leaving any trace of egg flavour.

giovedì 17 settembre 2015

Pomodori Ripieni - Stuffed Tomatoes

A summer recipe, which treasures Mediterranean flavours. Choose large and ripe vine tomatoes from the market. 


Bruschetta comes from the Italian  bruscare, which means “roast over coals”. In Tuscany, thick slices of farmers’ bread were lightly toasted, rubbed with garlic cloves, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then drizzled with the new crop olive oil. 
Sometimes, fresh chopped tomatoes were served as topping. 

Riso al Forno Colorato - Baked Rice

There are different varieties of rices in Italy, suitable for different dishes. The most famous is the rice for risotto (Carnaroli, Arborio, Vialone Nano). However, in this recipe, I suggest using the long rice, which doesn't contain starch and once cooked, the grains remain separated.

Risotto Zucca e Porcini - Squash and Porcini Risotto

Picture by Giulia Verdinelli

Risotto is a versatile dish I like to make in every season with different ingredients. This is an Autumn recipe, tasty and colourful. Butternut squash and porcini combine well together and the fresh rosemary enhances the earthy aroma of the dish.

Malfatti Burro e Salvia - Butter and Sage Malfatti Gnocchi

"Malfatti" are spinach and ricotta gnocchi (dumplings) from Lombardy, which come out in slightly different shapes. In fact, "malfatti" literally means "badly formed", to enhance their rustic  appearance.
Quick and easy to make, kids and grown-ups love them, they are a good alternative to pasta. They are delicious simply dressed with butter and sage.

Gnocchi di Grano Saraceno - Buckwheat and Potato Gnocchi

Being asthmatic, I like to spend as much time as I can up in the mountains, where I enjoy long walks with deep and regular breathing.
I always like to explore the local food, wherever I am. One of the most popular ingredients from the Alps is buckwheat flour. Gnocchi di grano saraceno (buckwheat gnocchi) are a typical example from an alpine kitchen. You can taste them in many restaurants and alpine huts. 

Minestra Farro e Ceci - Farro and Chickpea Soup

Farro and chickpeas are two ingredients already popular in ancient Roman cuisine. Combined with tomato comfit, they turn into a tasty and colorful soup, enjoyable at the end of summer. Serve with plenty of fresh herbs.

Amor Polenta

Foto di Giulia Verdinelli

A polenta cake from Lombardy with a romantic name and a unique shape. The peculiarity of Amor polenta is the ridged cake tin, specially created for this cake. 
When I was a child, we used to get it from Marchesi, one of the best pastry shops of Milan,  and have it for tea on special occasions. Marchesi still make it and I still enjoy its intense flavour, the golden colour and  crumbling texture. 

mercoledì 16 settembre 2015


The Italian pasticcini - the French petit four - are fine, small pastries with different fillings, textures and fragrances. A sort of miniature cake. We usually buy them in the pasticcerie (pastry shops)  to celebrate domestic festivities, sharing the variety of sweet flavours. Children like pasticcini. In just one bite, they can taste a chocolate eclair, a fine fruit pastry and a chestnut Mont Blanc.

lunedì 7 settembre 2015

Torta Cioccolato e Castagne - Chocolate and Chestnut Cake

This is an alternative to pure chocolate cake. The chestnut puree softens the chocolate, giving a sweet delicate aroma. 
I mainly make it in autumn and winter, when we need more energy to face the cold. It is also a true comfort food. I like to serve it with berries and whipped cream.

sabato 5 settembre 2015


I made pizza on Saturdays for years since we moved to London in the early 90s. My son loved it as it was a reminder of his roots and gave him the pleasure of conviviality. 
I prepared the dough in the morning and thanks to our double oven, I was able to serve pizza for a crowd of children and grow-ups. We made many new friends around our pizza Margherita. We kept it simple, without olives, anchovies, capers, in order to please everybody. 

Pizza alle Patate - Potato Pizza

No need for using yeast in this pizza, where the potatoes give softness to the dough.
For a gluten-free dish, replace the wheat flour either with rice or chickpea flour.
I like to add cherry tomatoes to the potato pizza,  so fresh and juicy.

mercoledì 2 settembre 2015

Gnocchi di Semolino - Semolina Gnocchi

Semolina gnocchi remind me of my childhood. We called them "Gnocchi alla romana" and we used to have them once a week, as a first course, instead of pasta or risotto. We loved them so much that I cannot remember any ever left over. 
I like to revive this vintage dish, reducing the amount of butter and serving it either as a main course or a side dish with any meat or just a fried egg.

martedì 25 agosto 2015

Pesce Spada in Padella - Swordfish Chunks

My father-in-law is an inventive and enthusiastic cook, able to inspire the best fish recipes ever. He never stops making new dishes and he always comes up with plenty of delicious ideas. I like to share his cooking experiences with him in endless phone conversations.

martedì 28 luglio 2015

Insalta Quinoa e Pomodoro - Quinoa and Tomato Salad

Quinoa is an ancient staple food from the Andes, but a new entry on Western tables. In London quinoa has become increasingly trendy over the last few years. Rich in proteins, minerals and fibres, it’s a gluten-free crop, which looks like a small grain or a tiny lentil, but is neither a cereal nor a pulse. Something in between. It is the perfect, healthy ingredient to accompany any vegetable, meat or fish.